Consumer Directed Employer Legislation:
Commonsense Reform for Medicaid Long-Term Management
On March 27, Governor Jay Inslee signed SB 6199, the Consumer Directed Employer legislation, into law, bringing it a step closer to becoming a reality.
The State’s current system for administration and payroll for Individual Providers is overly complicated and burdensome for caregivers and consumers.
Case workers are pulled in multiple directions and too often don’t have time to meet the needs of caregiver or clients. The payroll system has been a mess since day one. Caregivers are often confused about who to call and get passed from one place to another. SB 6199 allows the State to contract with a professional private entity to take over payroll and administration. This will simplify the system and create a single place to go for employment-related questions. It will free up caseworkers to address client needs, and will professionalize and improve payroll and administration.
Now that SB 6199 has been signed into law, the next step is for DSHS to begin a competitive bidding process to identify who the Consumer Directed Employer will be. The State’s decision will include a robust stakeholder-involvement process including Parent Providers, IPs, and advocates for people with disabilities, including self-advocates. We’ll work to ensure that the State selects a pro-worker and pro-Union employer so caregivers can continue to have a strong voice to advocate for improved wages and benefits.
Caregivers are excited about this improvement.
Though it is a significant change, caregivers, including the Union’s Executive Board, support this new law because we have outgrown the current model. We have grown as an industry and we need the systems that make our work possible to grow with us!
No caregiver will be forced to join a Union.
By having a strong Union, we have won significant increases in wages and benefits like affordable health care and retirement. When people opt out of paying any dues that places more of a burden on everyone else, and weakens our ability to keep winning better wages and benefits. But no caregiver can ever legally be forced to join a Union.
SB 6199 will not impact the tax status of Individual Providers.
IPs who qualify under the Difficulty of Care income exemption may continue to exclude income from federal income tax reporting. IPs who are currently exempt from FICA and FUTA will continue to be exempt.
SEIU 775 WILL NOT become an employer.
The Consumer Directed Employer will be selected through an RFP process with the State after a robust stakeholder involvement process including Parent Providers and advocates for people with disabilities – including self-advocates. SEIU 775 will continue to represent Individual Providers as their union and negotiate contracts with the Consumer Directed Employer.
EVV (Electronic Visit Verification) is a new federal requirement Washington has to implement and will not involve tracking caregivers.
This is a new federal requirement adopted by Washington’s Congress. SB 6199 doesn’t impact EVV because the state will have to implement it regardless of whether SB 6199 passes or not. DSHS says there is NO requirement to have video, audio, or GPS tracking as part of this system. We are just starting to discuss implementation with DSHS, but SEIU will certainly oppose any video, audio, or GPS tracking of caregivers.
SB 6199 will make some small improvement to overtime.
The legislation keeps the overtime limit at 65 hours/week (if the bill doesn’t pass the limit will go down to 60), and it gives DSHS more flexibility to approve and create exceptions to the overtime limits.
Home Care Aides have never gone on strike. SB 6199 won’t change that.
There are already 8,000-10,000 Home Care Aides who are employed by private home care agencies and represented by SEIU 775. Technically these Home Care Aides have the right to strike, but in 20 years there has never been any discussion of even considering a strike. There’s just no way to imagine that parents will go on strike against their children, or that any family member will go on strike against their loved ones.
The Freedom Foundation is in opposition to this bill because their mission, in their own words, is “destroy and defund” SEIU.
They are funded by wealthy donors who want to keep their tax breaks and don’t want caregiver to make a living wage and benefits.
For the next several years, we will continue to bargain our wages and benefits with the State.
As this legislation will take a few years to get up-and-running, we will move forward with our plans to bargain with the State for a new contract for IPs this summer. You can get involved by signing your updated membership form.